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way of absolute sovereignty; so that as the reprobates cannot say they have not merited that curse and misery which is like to be their portion for ever, so neither shall the elect be ever able to at: tribute their salvation to any other cause besides the sovereign free and rich grace of God, which, had it pleased God, might have fixed its hold on the reprobates, making them the elect, while they themselves were overlooked and passed by.
For my own part, I must ingenuously confess, that I am so far from reflecting on God, as any way. unjust or partial, for dealing with Adam's children as he doth, that I am rather astonished to think that any of Adam's apostate offspring should ever escape that curse and wrath, to which they were all equally born heirs apparent, Ephes. ii. 3; “ And were by nature, the children of wrath, even as others.” This, this was the state and condition of the elect themselves, as they are the natural offspring of Adam. But the banner of God's free grace, and undeserved love and pity, hath been, by the arm of divine sovereignty, effectually displayed over them, when in their blood and wretchedness, even then when God first laid the foundation of their salvation in election. According to Ephes. i. 4, 5, 6, 7, and Ephes. ii. to the 10th verse, well may every justified believer cry out with Paul, Rom. xi. 33, SY Bados. “() the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how. unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”.
In this bottomless profundity, or depth, of God's unsearchableness, the wit and corrupt reason of unregenerate men, with all their acquired parts, are swallowed up and confounded; by reason, whereof it comes to pass, that many times such as are admired for their great reason and learning, will not allow the Creator of the world that privilege which they readily grant to a man like themselves, viz. to decree or act any thing but what their blind reason and perverted judgment can see a reason for. Oh, what an age do we live in! wherein the immensity and unsearchableness of God is, on every occasion of men's disputing principles of religion, called on to hold up the hand at the bar of those men's carnal reason, who indeed have lost the use of right reason.
Of such men I would gladly know, whether they can, with all their mother wit, decked and adorned with all their academical learning, fathom the depth of the created ocean, or tell the exact number of the stars, and what influence they have on human bodies? If they can tell how the soul and body of man are united? Or how the bones grow, in the womb of the woman with child? With many other secrets in nature, not only difficult, but even impossible to be found out by the wit and learning of Adam's children ; witness the many learned philosophers, wherewith tlre world abounded, whose wit and learning came vastly short in finding out and tracing the Almighty in his works of creation and providence: from
argue, 'a minore ad majus, from the lesser to the greater. If all the mother wit and acquired parts and learning of the children of Adam could never find out many secrets in the works of creation and providence, how much more impossible is it for them to find out the Almighty Creator himself to perfection? The
query which Zophar the Naamathite put to Job, will never be answered by any creatures in earth or heaven any other way than in the negative. Job ii. 7, “ Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection?”
And from what source or fountain men's atheistical and saucy reflections on God, for making such a difference between Adam's children, in saving but few in comparison, and damning the rest, should spring, I cannot tell, unless from their profound ignorance of the immense and incomprehensible perfection of God's being, and their not owning and believing his absolute sovereignty over his creatures.
I appeal to the conscience of every savingly enlightened man, who reads this, whether this wilful and affected ignorance of God, and their denying his absolute sovereignty over his creatures, be not the very portal or door at which the horrid profaneness and matchless debaucheries of this worst of ages, which now lays the kingdoms open to utter ruin, have entered the stage.
This is that which the devil, and his busy
agents the Romish jesuits, aimed at, when, in the late king James's reign, they obtained the king's royal prohibition, forbidding ministers, both non. and con. to meddle, in preaching, with the doctrine of election and reprobation. They well knew how subservient the keeping the people ignorant of the doctrine of election would be to open the floodgates to profaneness and debauchery, and consequently prepare England for a ready reception of cursed and damning popery.
The denying the doctrine of God's sovereignty, in electing and reprobating lapsed and guilty rebels, and teaching and maintaining, both in pulpit and print, free-will to good in unregenerate men, as also the doctrine of general redemption, is a doctrine which is altogether unscriptural; and because of men's violence and peremptoriness in teaching and propagating the same, and their obstinacy in refusing to receive and submit to the contrary doctrine, which is according to the scriptures, and the only doctrine which designs the destruction of sin in the hearts and lives of true believers, and the promoter of true holiness: God most justly punisheth such people with a giving them up, not only to believe the most nonsensical lies for true religion, but even to wallow like swine in the mire of the grossest-immoralities, even to an excelling the very pagau world.
To illustrate the point I am now defending against the Quakers and Arminians, viz. that God, in electing some and reprobating others, doth act
therein most freely, as an absolute sovereign; let them give me leave to put this question to their reason and conscience, such as it is : Suppose that all the several parties in the city, who differ in their mode or way of worshipping God, should, in their respective meetings, instead of worshipping God, lay all their heads, hearts, and hands together, to contrive and carry on a plot against the king and the fundamental laws of the kingdom, with a full intent to destroy both the one and the other; to which plot all the several parties do, as one man, harmoniously and unanimously agree; the law condemns not only the practice as traiterous and treasonable, but sentences the very persons, all and singular, who are proved to have had any hand in such a plot, to a shameful and cruel death.
The plot comes to be discovered : upon discovery, the king, who hath the executive
of the law in his own hand, considers the matter, and finding that all these several parties, whom he took to be loyal subjects, are turned rebels; as most evidently appears by the unnatural plot lately engaged in by them all, against both his person and government; for which both he and they know full well the law condemns them all alike.
The king, to whom the executive power of the law belongs, according to his prerogative, nominates two select parties out of all the rest, viz. Quakers and Arminians, to whom he resolves to extend his favour, in giving to them his royal pardon; the other several parties, distinct from them,